Have you ever felt a little unqualified for a job you’re working on? Were you ever insecure about deserving someone’s love? What about asking for that raise you deserve?
Questions of worthiness haunt us all.
“There will come a point in every person’s life when they will question their own worthiness. It may be when they don’t get the job, when they are rejected by a friend, or when they don’t ace a test. There are numerous ways in which we all fail.” Brené Brown
We all face failure and rejection. The problem is if feelings of unworthiness aren’t balanced with self-value they can lead to unhealthy choices and coping mechanisms. One of our jobs as parents is to counteract or balance the negativity of the world with unconditional love.
All of us are worthy of love. We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Every person’s deepest emotional need is to be seen, loved, and accepted for who they are, not what they do. We need unconditional love even when–especially when–it seems underserved.
When it comes to parenting, I see a trend. We used to be comfortable with ideas like children are to be seen, not heard, or phrases like, “if you don’t stop crying I’m going to give you something to cry about.”
Now, we hear the same message when people say, “you kids just don’t know the value of real work. Back in my day…” or, “just because you got a trophy it doesn’t make you special.”
This negative perception of children often makes parents hesitate to be positive, loving, and caring. Why do we hesitate to tell our children how special they are? What are we afraid of?
We are afraid we will spoil our children. We worry they will become over-confident or egotistical. And, we are concerned about being judged as weak and overly permissive parents.
We also worry if we’re too nice our kids will struggle when others don’t mirror our same kindness.
What’s a parent supposed to do in a world filled with mixed messages? Should we tell our kids they’re special just because, or should we save the showering of compliments for when they’ve earned it?
If we only give off positivity when our children succeed we send a message that they’re only worthy of love when they’re successful. Which is great… until they fail at something.
How children cope with adversity is directly correlated to how they feel about themselves, and therefore, how you look at them. Throughout their lives, they will look to you for support and answers of worthiness.
Of course, you believe your child is special and worthy of all good things no matter what. But, do they truly know that at the core of their being? One tricky part of being a parent is believing in something and convincing your child of that belief.
Children always measure their worth against what they think their parents feel. Knowing the world will provide plenty of challenges to their belief of worthiness, parents need to balance the negatives with messages of unconditional love.
Trust me, the research shows there has never been a child who overdosed on too much love. We can control too much, we can give them too many things, or we can be overprotective. But, we can never over-communicate our love for them.
Every day children need to be told they are special just because. They should know they don’t need to perform or be someone they’re not to get your attention. Remind them that in all the world there is no one else like them and you are lucky to have them because it’s true.